(I am going to be posting a few posts from my now defunct website, joy-café for the next few posts.)

I always thought I’d live this grand, huge, bigger-than-life life; one full of adventure, thrills, and amazing romance. I wanted to travel again.  Being an army brat, we moved every 1-2 years since I was born until my sophomore year in high school.  I didn’t like living in one place very long – I wanted to explore!  I wanted to try different careers.  I wanted to go anywhere I wanted to at the drop of a hat.  I wanted to LIVE BIG.

I managed to live BIG (in my eyes) until the day I became a single parent at 28.  My world became a little narrower then.  At first, before he was born, I thought, “Well, I’ll get my real life back when he’s 18 and leaves home.”  I wasn’t thinking with any reality-based information, that’s for sure.  

Then it happened.  While pregnant came that first time when he kicked.  And I knew.  The awe of that moment changed everything and I knew I was getting ready to experience something I could never have imagined until it became reality.

When I met my son in person, there was nothing else to see from that point on.  My world narrowed down so pinpoint small, there was only the wonder of this baby.  There was no more desire to live the way I used to – selfish, self-centered, me-me-me.  I discovered that this narrow little world was an amazing and wonderful place to live.  

I would have missed a true miracle if I had not sidetracked into this world with this boy.  Just the marvel of this little being discovering everything fresh and new in his world, and being able to look through his eyes at it, is something I will forever be grateful to God for.  Well, maybe not the spiders, worms and bugs part.  But still.

After awhile, we expanded our world by meeting and marrying a knight in shining armor.  That changed the entire family dynamic in our little world.  It developed into fresh learning experiences and crisp new joys.  Watching as a child adapted to his heart’s desire – a daddy – was another time in my life’s history I will thank God for forever.  You can actually feel your heart melt.

Soon, life changed in 2001 as the child grew up, graduated, moved out, and developed his own life of living BIG.  My world expanded a little more with newer freedoms and a new privacy with a knight I’d never truly been alone with until then.  Life was even better.  Boy, was it!  We were getting to live bigger & bigger!

Mom had a light stroke in 1999.  Then my dad died in 2004.  As time passed by, my world became narrower and smaller.  Mom became even more dependent on me and soon incapable of living without a bit of help. 

I live in a very small world now.  This world consists of a small town, a small job, a small circle of friends, and a small life.  Every decision I make has to be worked out with my mom in mind.  Vacation?  Make sure she has someone available to help her.  Go to town?  Make sure she doesn’t need anything from the grocery store.  Bills?  Write them out so she can sign the checks.  (She did reach the point I couldn’t go on vacation; she couldn’t make coffee or cook, bathe, or the basic things… they slipped out of her grasp one by one.)

But you know what?  I’m grateful I have learned to develop a different relationship with mom.  It may not be the same one we used to have, but I enjoy her and treasure the time we have together since I know that this time is coming to an end someday soon.  Each day is valuable and precious, even if there are times of frustration.  She adapted to living without dad and I adapted to living with a mom who is no longer that strong, independent woman she was.

And I learned that the same amazing and life altering first thing that changed my so-called BIG life, becoming a parent, is now helping me enjoy my so-called smaller life.  Because of his relationship with his gram, that son helps me with her.  They have their own special world where he is not only grandson, he is taxi driver, house cleaner, gardener, bill payer, lawn care pro, and chief cook and bottle washer.  Unconditional love at its most powerful.  (He eventually became her full time caretaker, with the exception of the personal things I had to take care of.) 

I have this huge life, really, because love is huge.  It may look small to the outside world, but my life is amazing.  I have the love of my best friend and knight in shining armor, Alpha Hubby.  Who knew I’d find a perfect and a true love in a small town?  I have a few true friends and I have Joshua.  Joshua, the child I could not imagine a life without.  Joshua, who champions his gram, is developing his own knightly character.

Because of the love of a child for his gram, I have seen a love that is indescribable.  It is pure and it is real.  It is protective and it is hard-working.  I am so proud of him.

You know what?  What I thought of before as a BIG life, wasn’t.  How could it have been a BIG life if I had never even experienced real love and seen true unconditional love in action through both Alpha Hubby and son?

Live every day joyously.  No matter how big or how little you think your world is, it is important to celebrate where you are, right now.  LIVE TO THE FULLEST, LIVE BIG, EVERY DAY!

 

And p.s. – Alpha Hubby and I are now living a bigger life, getting into new and wonderful adventures.  We are a little more free to travel (those cows need someone to feed).  We are walking in new dreams and having different kinds of fun.  But I will forever take with me the lessons learned when I felt my life was so small.

What A Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

Copyright © 2008 Nan C Loyd
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